It is a curious and painful fact that almost all the completely futile treatments that have been believed in during the long history of medical folly have been such as caused acute suffering to the patient. When anesthetics were discovered, pious people considered them an attempt to evade the will of God. It was pointed out, however, that when God extracted Adam's rib He put him into a deep sleep. This proved that anesthetics are all right for men; women, however, ought to suffer, because of the curse of Eve.
As a consequence of natural analgesic actions or as a result of the administration of drugs that interfere with body signaling (painkillers, anesthetics), the brain receives a distorted view of what the body state really is at the moment. We know that in situations of fear in which the brain chooses the running option rather than freezing, the brain stem disengages the part of the pain-transmission circuitry, a bit like pulling the plug. The periqueductal gray, which controls these responses, can also command the secretion of natural opioids and achieve precisely what taking an analgesic would achieve - elimination of pain signals. In the strict sense, we are dealing here with a hallucination of the body because what the brain registers in its maps and the conscious mind feels do not correspond to the reality that might be perceived. Whenever we ingest molecules the have the power to modify the transmission or mapping of body signals, we play on this mechanism. Alcohol does it; so do analgesics and anesthetics, as well as countless drugs of abuse. It is patently clear that, other than out of curiousity, humans are drawn to such molecules because of their desire to generate feelings of well-being, feelings in which pain signals are obliterated and pleasure signals induced.
Antonio R. Damasio
For many, the search for Jesus is initiated from experiencing an event in life so powerful, it awakens the dragons of faith; from pain so deep, it calls on the hidden fears of the soul in an effort to survive. For others it means a serious personal life survey that ultimately forces the confrontation with the futility, anesthetics, and despair in their lives.
W. Scott Lineberry
Christianity persecuted, tortured, and burned. Like a hound it tracked the very scent of heresy. It kindled wars, and nursed furious hatreds and ambitions. It sanctified, quite like Mohammedism, extermination and tyranny. All this would have been impossible if, like Buddhism, it had looked only for peace and the liberation of souls. It looked beyond; it dreamt of infinite blisses and crowns it should be crowned with before an electrified universe and an applauding God... Buddhism had tried to quiet a sick world with anesthetics; Christianity sought to purge it with fire.
It is just when people are all engaged in snooping on themselves and one another that they become anesthetized to the whole process. Tranquilizers and anesthetics, private and corporate, become the largest business in the world just as the world is attempting to maximize every form of alert. Sound-light shows, as new cliche, are in effect mergers, retrievers of the tribal condition. It is a state that has already overtaken private enterprise, as individual businesses form into massive conglomerates. As information itself becomes the largest business in the world, data banks know more about individual people than the people do themselves. The more the data banks record about each one of us, the less we exist.